South African photographer honoured by ‘Oscars’ of Wildlife Photography
South African Photographer Honoured by ‘Oscars’ of Wildlife Photography
54th Edition of Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition recognises Isak Pretorius’s image
Isak Pretorius, renowned wildlife photographer, has once again been placed in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year awards ceremony, to be hosted by the London’s Natural History Museum on the 19th of October this year. Selected from over 45,000 entries by expert judges, the images are awarded for their creativity, originality and technical excellence. In 2013 Isak was the first South African to win Wildlife Photographer of the Year for bird behavior. This year, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year has again selected Isak’s image, ‘Cool Cat’, as one of the Highly Recommended Images in its Animal Portrait category.
Isak Pretorius has been celebrated nationally and internationally for his spectacular specialist photographs showcasing Africa’s natural wonders in his creative and unique way. He has won multiple awards, amongst which are a category winner of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2013 and Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards 2011. Furthermore, his images have been placed in prominent publications such as Getaway, Go/Weg, Africa Geographic and Birdlife South Africa magazines. Isak believes that “in showing people the beauty of nature and wildlife, they will care more about it, and that’s our best chance of protecting it”. His unfaltering passion for wildlife photography has led him to not only create conservation awareness but to educate and mentor ardent amateur as well as professional photographers in their photographic endeavours.
This year’s image of a lioness drinking water amongst the blades of grass has also been designated the preferred signature marketing image for the competition, to promote the exhibition which will be hosted at the Natural History Museum in London.
Isak’s image ‘Cool Cat’ was taken at award-winning Mfuwe Lodge in South Luangwa National Park. South Luangwa is a secluded and unspoiled National Park in Zambia. It remains Isak’s favourite destination for wildlife photography, a place where he feels “the old sprit of safari still lingers”. The Luangwa Valley is at the tail end of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, known for its abundance of wildlife, forests, majestic landscapes and oxbow lagoons. Mfuwe Lodge is a luxury lodge and spa where guests have been known to have extraordinary close up views of elephants roaming the reception area and picking fruit from the lodge’s African Marula Trees.
Strategically placing himself across a seasonal waterhole whilst the resident pride of lions, known as the “Mfuwe Lodge Pride”, finished off their buffalo meal, he watched closely as a lioness retreated from her feast for a drink of water. ‘Cool Cat’ was one of a series of perfectly timed images that Isak caught with her tongue lapping the water whilst gazing into his lens. The emerald green grass of the South Luangwan foliage served as a spectacular backdrop to the photograph. The soft evening light and the slow shutter speed of Isak’s camera honoured the absolute precision of the image.